Bike-Dreams : Balkan Boulevard
Balkan Boulevard

Balkan Boulevard


In a nutshell


Rest days


Ljubljana, Slovenia
Athens, Greece

Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece
36 stages
7 days
Pula (CR), Split (CR), Dubrovnik (CR),
Tirana (AL), Ksamil (AL), Kastraki (GR),
Olympia (GR)

Total distance
Average distance
Total climbing
Average climbing
3.600 km
100 km
52.500 meters
1.450 meters
2.250 miles
63 miles
172.000 feet
4.750 feet
Road condition



Price full tour




99% paved

Monday September 1st, 2025
Monday October 13th, 2025

Mixture of camping (26) and hotels (18)

€ 7.195,-
€ 300,- for early registration

The Balkan. It is where Europe greets the Orient; where Christians and Muslims have cohabited for centuries building its own strong culture and unique society. The Balkan is a fascinating region that has also shaped the history of modern Europe.
This beautiful geography hosted huge incidents in history from the splitting of the Roman Empire into two, to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that sparked World War I. It has witnessed many wars and struggles, and was named the "powder-keg of Europe" due to strong ideals of the natives. Whilst the Balkans hold such a rich history, it is also truly blessed with its astonishing natural beauty. From magnificent mountains covered in tall green forests, to crystal waters and a myriad of islands with endless white beaches. The Balkans are a unique facade of Europe with its familiar, yet distinct style and vibe.
There is not universal agreement on the region's components. Some define the Balkan in cultural and historical terms and others geographically, though there are even different interpretations among historians and geographers. The interpretations might give discussion, one thing is sure : the history and geography of the Balkan is an ideal blend for another wonderful bike tour. We would like to welcome you on the Balkan Boulevard.

We start our journey in Ljubljana, the attractive capital of Slovenia. The small country is still covered in forest for more than half of its total surface, which makes it one of the greenest countries of Europe. It's an earthly paradise of snow-capped peaks, turquoise-green rivers and a Venetian-style coastline.
On our way to the Julian Alps in the north west of the country we pass Lake Bled. This bluish-green lake with a tiny baroque chapel on a picturesque island, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and high peaks as backdrops, has been a world-renowned paradise for centuries. It will be hard to start a tour in a better way.

When you think that the Balkan Boulevard is mainly a cycling tour over wide flat avenues with waving palms along the turquoise Mediterranean, you are wrong. Completely wrong. Already on day three we make a side trip to the Mangart Saddle near the border of Italy. An epic one-way road leads up to more than 2.000 meter and gives spectacular views over the Julian Alps. It's not only in the beginning of the tour that you will need all your granny gears, it's all the way down to Athens that the route is everything, except flat.

After rolling down from the wild, karstic plateau in Slovenia we arrive for the first time at the Adriatic Sea in Trieste, Italy. The great seaport of the Habsburg Empire has a fabulous waterfront with a neoclassical architecture and its own unique border-town culture.
The visit to Italy is only brief, since soon after we cycle along the rocky beaches of Istria located in Slovenia and mainly Croatia. This sunny peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea is characterised by little picturesque fisher towns and an interior of rolling hills and fertile plains. We don't miss out on Istria's historic capital Pula which ruled the Adriatic for centuries from the southern tip of the peninsula. The city has a famous and imposing 2.000-year-old Roman amphitheatre and offers many other sights in the centre and surroundings. Add the beach and you have a great place for a first rest day.
As you might expect from us, we always try to find less known, but wonderful climbs. Also this time in Croatia. We cycle from sea level up to the top of Mount Vojak, with 1.372 metres the highest peak on the Istrian peninsula. The mountain in the middle of the Učka Nature Park offers spectacular views over the Adriatic Islands.
Islands that we will hop-on and hop-off in the following stages. Before we arrive at Krk, Croatia's biggest island, we pass the bustling city of Rijeka. A ferry brings us to the 22-kilometres long island of Rab with in its middle the eponymous town, characterised by four elegant bell towers rising from the white stone streets. A short ferry, 17 kilometres of Croatia's mainland and another short ferry and we are at Pag Island. It doesn't look quite like a typical island in the Adriatic. Pag Island is dry and relatively barren with a strange kind of lunar landscape.
Back on the mainland we pass the old town of Zadar which is overflowing with heritage. This intriguing small finger of land is almost entirely encircled by stone defences and boasts roman ruins and medieval churches.

We head further south and have our second rest day in Croatia's second-largest city, Split. The highlight in the exuberant city is the Diocletian's Palace, one of world's most impressive Roman monuments. We cross the border into Bosnia Herzegovina to explore Mostar. The city is full of quintessential Ottoman architecture, with plenty of traditional restaurants, market stalls, mosques and other historic buildings. It's especially Balkans' most celebrated bridge, the Stari Most, that forms a majestic stone arc between medieval towers and is like a magnet for every visitor.
Back into Croatia we arrive in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik, dubbed the "Pearl of the Adriatic". Dubrovnik has been ruled through the centuries by the Venetians and the Hungarians, each of which have left their marks. Few cities offer a more immersive experience into the past than the walled city of Dubrovnik and is definitely worth a rest day.

The Balkan Boulevard is a concatenation of wonderful destinations and Unesco world heritage sites. It doesn't matter in which country they are situated. The next unmissable site is the Bay of Kotor with its brain-blowing beauty. Kotor is a little fairy-tale place and the most beautiful and best-preserved town in Montenegro. We leave the bay behind and climb up to Mount Lovćen. The mountain holds a special place in the heart of all Montenegrins and is the inspiration behind the name of Montenegro, Black Mountain, referring to the dense forest that covers its slopes. Cruising down from the mountain we arrive in Cetinje, the historical and cultural capital of the country. The tiny town has sometimes been described as a mini European capital.
We continue for dozens of winding kilometres along Balkans' largest lake, Lake Skadar. The Dolphin-shaped lake has its tail and two-thirds of its body in Montenegro and its nose in Albania. A large area on the Montenegrin side has been protected by a national park and is today renowned as one of Europe's top bird habitats. On the south side of the lake we have already entered Albania as we arrive in Skhodër, the traditional centre of the Gheg cultural region. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe and arguably the most attractive urban centre in Albania.

We head further south and arrive in Tirana, the capital. The city has undergone a transformation of extraordinary proportions since awaking from its communist slumber in the early 1990s. Tirana's centre is now unrecognisable from those grey days, with buildings painted in primary colours, and public squares and pedestrianised streets that are a pleasure to wander around on your rest day.
We will be surprised by Berat with its own very special magic. Its most striking feature is the collection of white Ottoman houses climbing up the hill to its castle, earning it the title of "town of a thousand windows". Before we arrive at the Albanian Riviera, we pass the protected landscapes of Vjosë-Nartë. We make half a loop in the southern part of Albania to include several of its interesting cultural sites like Gjirokastër, Përmet and the ancient Greek city of Butrint, all in a setting of unspoilt nature.

Finally we arrive in Greece, our last country of the Balkan Boulevard. The sites of this glorious and highly diverse country are countless. We have tried to incorporated a good mix to get a full picture of this ancient country, the cradle of Western civilization. We cycle from the edges of the Vikos Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world, in the heart of the Pindus Mountains, to the astonishing monasteries of Meteora, perched at the top of beautiful sandstone mountains. We cross one of Europe's longest and most modern suspension bridges near Patras to arrive at the amazing beauty of the Peloponnese. We have a rest day planned in Olympia, the archaeological site where the Olympic Games began and where nowadays every four years the Olympic flame is lit amongst the well preserved ruins. And at the end, we will be surprised by the incredible acoustics of the ancient amphitheatre of Epidaurus before we finish in the capital of Greece, Athens.

The whole route follows mainly well paved and quiet roads. The course varies from rolling hills and winding roads along the coast to steep challenging climbs more inland. Especially Slovenia, the south of Albania and Greece are mountainous, but also the other areas are definitely not flat. Be prepared : you don't get one single flat stage.
The Balkan has a Mediterranean climate with ideal cycling conditions in September and October. Sunny, pleasant warm and sometimes a refreshing rain shower. Time remains to visit the cultural sites, to sample the rich local cuisine and to sit on a terrace along the Adriatic Sea.

The 2nd edition of the "Balkan Boulevard" starts Monday September 1st, 2025 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The finish lies after almost 6 weeks, 34 stages and 3.600 kilometres in the heart of Athens.

How many wonderful places do you need to put in a bicycle journey to make it attractive? Ten? Twenty? More? The number of interesting sites in a tour through seven different countries with all their own people, culture, religion, language, history, landscape and infrastructure is infinite. Add to that dozens of challenging climbs and wonderful small quiet roads in a beautiful setting of mountains and sea, and you can ask yourself the question : why haven't we organised here a tour before? Yes, why?
The credo of Bike Dreams is : "Life is not the dreams you have, but the dreams you realize".